June 9, 2023

Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest – November 22-28, 2020

Welcome to the Caribbean Trade & Development News Digest for the week of November 22-28, 2020! We are pleased to bring you the major trade and development news headlines and analysis from across the Caribbean Region and the world from the past week.

On November 30 each year Barbados celebrates its independence. We wish fellow readers in Barbados and all Barbadians both here and in the diaspora Happy 54th Anniversary of Independence!


This week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) released its World Trade Report 2020 with a focus on how governments use policies to foster digital innovation. Read the press release and access the full report here.

While China and Australia are among the signatories to the recently signed RCEP, that has not slowed simmering diplomatic and trade tensions between the two Asia-Pacific nations as China slapped tariffs on wine imports from Australia. Read more in this Reuters story here.

As in-person Brexit negotiations continued this week, there is some skepticism on whether at this late stage a deal is even possible before the expiration of the transition period. Read this commentary by Euronews here.

Looking regionally, the Caricom Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) held a virtual meeting this week on November 27-28, 2020 .

A Caribbean Manufacturers Association (CMA) was launched this week. Read more . The UWI, CDB and EU have collaborated to produce the first State of the Caribbean Climate Report. Access the full report here.

At Barbados’ Virtual ‘We Gathering’ Independence event, which brought together persons from across the island and the world, Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerome Walcott noted that the country will be opening three embassies in African countries next year which will have commercial attaches, as well as deepening its engagement with the Barbadian diaspora by establishing a diaspora policy and a national diaspora registry.


Cubans Seek Alternatives after Western Union Closes

Havana Times: Cubans are looking for new alternatives so that remittances can continue to flow from the US to Cuba via cryptocurrencies or debit cards, after Western Union closed its offices on Monday. This has been one of the hardest blows for families on both sides of the Florida Strait, reported Reuters. Read more

Because of Trump sanctions, Western Union remittances come to an end in Cuba
NBC: “The problem is not the closure of Western Union, but that Western Union is practically the only U.S.-to-Cuba provider of remittance payments,” said a Washington, D.C-based analyst. Read more

New CARICOM Manufacturers’ Association formed

Loop: Six manufacturing associations across the Caribbean have agreed to join forces under a new CARICOM Manufacturers’ Association (CMA). Read more

CARICOM congratulates Barbados on 54th Independence Anniversary

BarbadosToday: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has extended congratulations to the Government and People of Barbados on its 54th Anniversary of Independence. Read more

Blowout Of CARICOM COVID-19 Travel Bubble – Regional Heads Squabble Over Country Classification

Jamaica Gleaner: The contents of a recent letter from Gaston Browne, the Antigua and Barbuda prime minister, to his Barbados counterpart, Mia Mottley, appears to reflect both frustration in St John’s and long-running difficulty among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders to agree and implement common policies. Read more

Barbados and Scotland launch three-day cyber event

BarbadosToday: The first-ever virtual trade mission between Barbados and Scotland was launched today. The two countries, determined that the global COVID-19 pandemic will not be a deterrent, are staging the three-day event to showcase products and services from both territories. Read more

Protect our share

Barbados Today: Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-based manufacturers have been urged to scale up their production capacity, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, or risk losing important market share to outsiders. Read more

New measurements legislation coming

Barbados Today: Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Kerrie Symmonds, speaking on Monday during a stakeholders’ sensitisation forum on the Bill via Zoom, said the new legislation is an important step to modernising the economy and enhancing the island’s export potential. Read more

Gopee-Scoon: Let Caribbean pool its production resources

Newsday: Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon urged manufacturers across the Caribbean to pool resources for their mutual benefit, addressing the virtual signing ceremony of the Caribbean Manufacturers Association (CMA) on Wednesday. Read more

Cuba and Jamaica strengthen trade ties in medical field

Prensa Latina: Cuban and Jamaican companies from the medical sector held an entrepreneurial forum on Friday, under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba (CCC) and the Jamaican Embassy in Havana. Read more

JSWIFT Exceeding Turnaround Time For Processing Trade Documents

JIS: The Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) has been doing same day processing for approximately 50 to 70 per cent of documents submitted daily, thereby exceeding expectations of the online portal. Read more

Jamaican businesses invited to participate in US virtual trade mission and networking event

Jamaica Observer: The American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM) is partnering with the US Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service and the US Embassy in Jamaica to host a Caribbean region virtual trade mission on December 1. Read more

Expanding and developing the Guyana economy

Stabroek: When oil and gas production fields in Guyana are fully operational, the fossil energy sector is likely to be the predominant source of national economic activity through its direct contribution to foreign exchange earnings, government fiscal revenues, employment and labour incomes, and local purchases of goods and services. Read more

Despite major oil discoveries World Bank still lists Guyana among poorest in South America

Stabroek: Guyana’s multiple major oil discoveries beginning in May 2015 may have set the country on the path to realising a level of wealth not before seen in the Caribbean, but a recent World Bank Review still regards the country as being “one of the poorest in South America.” Read more

Guyana, Suriname to deepen economic and social cooperation

Jamaica Observer: President Irfaan Ali has pledged to deepen the bond between Guyana and neighbouring Suriname. Read more

Guyana & Suriname sign MoU to bridge the Corentyne River

LoopNewsCaribbean: Trade between Guyana and Suriname will soon have a new route as both governments finalised and signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday to construct a bridge over the Corentyne River. Read more

Belize to benefit from new tax breaks in Chetumal

Breaking Belize News: Тhе bоrdеrѕ аrе сurrеntlу сlоѕеd, but whеn thеу rеореn, Веlіzеаnѕ ѕhорріng іn Сhеtumаl, Quіntаnа Rоо, Мехісо wіll bеnеfіt frоm fuеl аnd tах brеаkѕ tо bе іntrоduсеd аnd ехраndеd аlоng thе ѕоuthеrn frоntіеr аѕ wеll аѕ thе nоrth, ассоrdіng tо Rеutеrѕ.  Read more

Over 600 heads of cattle going to Mexico in December

Breaking Belize News: Тhе trаdе оf lіvеѕtосk bеtwееn Веlіzе, Мехісо, аnd Guаtеmаlа, ѕtаllеd іn thе lаttеr dауѕ оf thе Dеаn Ваrrоw аdmіnіѕtrаtіоn, hаѕ bееn rеvіvеd іn еаrnеѕt bу ѕuссеѕѕоr Јоhn Вrісеñо аnd hіѕ Міnіѕtеr оf Аgrісulturе аnd Еntеrрrіѕе, Јоѕе Маі. Read more

CDB, IMPACS and OECS partner to establish maritime single window

Menafm: A maritime single window will be established in the Eastern Caribbean in the upcoming months says director of the projects department at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Daniel Best. Read more

Working together vital

Barbados Advocate: The challenges faced this year have highlighted the importance of closer integration and collaboration to help ensure that fragile regional economies can more effectively absorb and rebound from external shocks. Read more

Grenada and Georgia sign Visa Waiver Agreement

NowGrenada: Grenada‘s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Her Excellency Keisha A McGuire, and her Georgian counterpart, His Excellency Kaha Imnadze, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations, executed agreements that would waive visa requirements, allowing nationals of Grenada and Georgia to travel between the 2 countries without a visa for stays not exceeding 90 days. Read more

Security forces start planning for UNCTAD 15

BarbadosToday: Members of the local and regional security cluster for the UNCTAD 15 Conference recently stepped up their preparation for the Conference with a training exercise at the Headquarters of the Regional Security System (RSS) at Paragon, Christ Church. Read more


Global tariff relief on medical goods urged by group of nations

Livemint: The European Union said it would join forces with countries including Canada and Japan to push fellow World Trade Organization members to ease tariffs on medical equipment needed to fight Covid-19, the latest effort to bolster supply chains amid the pandemic. Read more

China slaps tariffs of up to 212% on Australian wine imports

CNN Business: Australian winemakers have been dealt a huge blow from China as tensions continue to spiral between the two countries. Read more

PM warns economic challenges lie ahead as China’s wine tariffs hit

The Sydney Morning Herald: Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned of more economic challenges ahead, saying the age of certainty enjoyed before the coronavirus pandemic was an aberration with more disruption caused by global competition likely to feature in coming years. Read more

China increases coal import quotas but Australia likely to be excluded

The Guardian: China’s foreign ministry has warned Australia to handle the bilateral relationship with “mutual respect and equality” after it imposed “devastating” tariffs of up to 212% on Australia wines. Read more

Australia prepares to escalate action against China to World Trade Organization over barley tariffs

ABC (Australia): As tension grows over Beijing’s massive tariffs on Australian wine, the Federal Government is continuing with plans to take China to the World Trade Organization over barley exports. Read more

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: how global and local experience would play out in WTO top job

The Conversation: The global economy faces profound uncertainties, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, faith in the efficacy of international bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been weakened by a power struggle between China and the US. Read more

UK, France sign new deal to stop illegal migration across Channel

Reuters: Britain and France signed a new agreement to try to stop illegal migration across the Channel on Saturday, upping patrols and technology in the hope of closing off a dangerous route used by migrants to try to reach the UK on small boats. Read more

How close to a Brexit trade deal are we?

BBC: With only just over a month to go before the transition period ends, the rumour mill keeps churning relentlessly. Runes are read out loud, and potential – though never confirmed – compromise solutions are leaked to the hungry UK media (the European press is rather more preoccupied by Covid-19 and Christmas plans).

Brexit talks restart in person in London as clock ticks down

Al Jazeera: Negotiators meet in last-ditch bid to secure deal before the UK’s transition period with the EU ends on December 31. Read more

Last-ditch Brexit trade talks resume amid growing EU scepticism

The Guardian: Michel Barnier has told bloc he is prepared for four more days of make-or-break negotiations. Read more

UK-EU trade deal would avoid years of acrimony, says funds industry

Reuters: A trade deal between Britain and the European Union would help open the door to cross-border financial services from January and avoid years of acrimony, industry officials said on Monday. Read more

British, Irish prime ministers discuss EU trade negotiations

Reuters: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin on Friday evening and discussed progress in UK-EU trade negotiations, the UK government said, at a time when differences remained with the EU on a Brexit trade deal. Read more

Mercosur/EU trade deal: “time is pressing,” cautions Uruguay

Mercopress: Uruguayan foreign minister Francisco Bustillo leaves this week for Spain the first of a round of European countries ahead of the coming Mercosur summit to be held next month, under the presidency of Uruguay. Finalizing the Mercosur/European Union trade agreement is the focus of the trip. Read more

Europe ‘cannot afford’ to bow out of Mercosur agreement, says academic

Euractiv: The crisis of multilateralism, driven by the competition between the US and China, and a lukewarm push from the current leaders of the EU and Mercosur, explains why the agreement between these two blocks is such a challenge, analysts say. Read more

Ottawa unveils funding for poultry and egg farmers hurt by free-trade deals

CBC: Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share due to two recent free-trade agreements will soon have access to $691 million in federal cash, Canada’s agriculture minister announced Saturday. Read more

EU Parliament Backs Lobster Deal And EU-US Mini Trade Pact

VOANews: The European Union parliament on Thursday approved a mini trade deal with the United States, which includes the elimination of customs duties on U.S. lobster imports. The passage with 638 votes for, 45 against and 11 abstentions was the last major political step for the deal to come into effect. Read more

Commons considers Bloc bill to end dairy concessions in trade deals

CBC: When Canadian trade negotiators begin talks with the United Kingdom next year on a permanent bilateral trade deal, their hands could be tied when it comes to offering any future dairy, egg or poultry concessions — if Parliament passes a new private member’s bill that saw its first hour of debate on Tuesday. Read more

New regional trade deals to help China ‘sustain its advantages’ in global supply chains

CNBC: China is set to remain a key player in global supply chains, thanks to a combination of factors ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to new trade agreements. Read more

Africa to welcome e-commerce to speed up trade

Menafm: A virtual import and export meeting and exhibition opened on Tuesday, November 24, with the Zambian government advising African countries to welcome e-commerce in order to speed up trade. Read more

AfCFTA: African Finance Ministers to discuss payments system for trade bloc

Nairametrics: The African Union is set to discuss the launch of a payment system for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more

AfCFTA Secretariat rolls out ‘vision’ initiative

Ghanaweb: With barely two weeks left to the Extraordinary Summit of African Union Heads of State on 5th December, 2020, ahead of the expected start of trading under AfCFTA on 1st January 2021, the AfCFTA Secretariat is pleased to announce AfCFTA Vision, an Initiative in partnership with the Sankoree Institute, an affiliate of AfroChampions. Read more

Why India Refused to Join the World’s Biggest Trading Bloc

Foreign Policy: On Sunday, Nov. 15, 15 Asian nations representing nearly a third of the global economy signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), forming the world’s biggest trading bloc. But one Asian economic giant was missing: India. Despite protracted negotiations, New Delhi refused to join the accord. Read more

PM Modi, Johnson discuss ‘ambitious roadmap’ for India-UK ties in next decade

Hindustan Times: A Downing Street spokesperson said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK’s Boris Johnson discussed joint efforts to find treatments and vaccines for coronavirus and welcomed the collaboration between the two countries’ leading scientists. Read more

Dombrovskis: Deep and comprehensive trade deal with the US ‘not feasible’

Euractiv: European Commission executive vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis, believes that Joe Biden’s victory will bring a fresh start to the EU-US relations. But there are limits, as he considers that it would not be feasible to try again to negotiate a deep and comprehensive trade deal like the TTIP, he told EURACTIV in an interview on Wednesday (25 November). Read more

France is pushing ahead with its tax on US Big Tech after a 10-month standoff with Trump, setting the stage for a trade war over makeup and handbags

Business Insider: France has demanded US tech giants pay its new 3% digital services tax, in a re-escalation of a trade war with the White House that was put on hold in January. Read more



The Caribbean Trade & Development Digest is a weekly trade news digest produced and published by the Caribbean Trade Law & Development Blog. Liked this issue? To read past issues, please visit here. To receive these mailings directly to your inbox, please subscribe to our Blog below:


The Caribbean Trade Law and Development Blog is owned and was founded by Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. (Dist.), LL.B. (Hons), a Caribbean-based trade and development consultant. She writes and presents regularly on trade and development matters affecting the Caribbean and other small states. You can follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw. All views expressed on this Blog are Alicia's personal views and do NOT necessarily reflect the views of any institution or entity with which she may from time to time be affiliated.

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